Tom Ardolino

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Tom Ardolino
Birth nameThomas Robert Ardolino
Born(1955-01-12)January 12, 1955
Springfield, Massachusetts
DiedJanuary 6, 2012(2012-01-06) (aged 56)
Springfield, Massachusetts
Occupation(s) Musician
Instrument(s) Drums

Thomas Robert Ardolino (January 12, 1955 – January 6, 2012) was an American rock drummer best known as a member of NRBQ (New Rhythm and Blues Quartet).



Tom Ardolino was born and raised in Springfield, Massachusetts. A fan of the band, he began corresponding and trading tapes with keyboardist and co-founder Terry Adams. This led to him meeting and befriending the band. At one live show, when original NRBQ drummer Tom Staley did not return for an encore, Adams invited Ardolino to fill in. He performed well enough that when Staley left the band in 1974, his bandmates agreed that Ardolino was the natural choice as successor. [1]

Ardolino remained in the lineup until the band went on hiatus in 2004, returning for occasional performances with Adams, and contributing to solo recordings by Adams (Rhythm Spell and Holy Tweet), by NRBQ (Keep This Love Going and We Travel the Spaceways) and others (see Selected Discography).

While lead vocals were generally performed by other members of NRBQ, live shows often included a moment where Ardolino would take the spotlight and sing, either with a karaoke backing track or with one of the other band members drumming.

Ardolino's solo album Unknown Brain was released in 2004 on CD by Bumble Bee Records, Japan and on vinyl LP in the USA on Mystra Records. The album consists mostly of basement recordings made in 1971–72. The cover states "WARNING: If out-of-tuneness bothers you, do not listen." [2]

He was also an avid collector of song poems, and initiated the "MSR Madness" series of compilations.

Ardolino appeared in a promotional video to campaign for the world premiere of The Simpsons Movie in his hometown of Springfield.

Tom Ardolino died on January 6, 2012, at a Springfield, Massachusetts, hospital; this was reported on the NRBQ Headquarters page on Facebook. [3] [4] A later article from the Washington Post specified the cause as diabetes. [5]

Selected Discography

With Terry Adams

With Steve Ferguson

With Terry Adams and Steve Ferguson

With PJ O’Connell

With Johnny Johnson

With Hot Shots

With Neanderthals

With Jim Stephanson

With Instant Cytron


As Producer/Presenter


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  1. Simons, Julian "Tom Ardolino: Artists: Modern Drummer Magazine". Archived from the original on 2011-01-08. Retrieved 2010-12-05., "Modern Drummer", July, 2005, accessed December 5, 2010.
  2. "Unknown Brain by Tom Ardolino". Retrieved 2012-01-08.
  3. "NRBQ – News". Archived from the original on 2012-08-06. Retrieved 2012-01-08.
  4.!/pages/NRBQ-Headquarters/221489064545160 [ user-generated source ]
  5. McArdle, Terence (January 20, 2012). "Tom Ardolino, ebullient drummer of NRBQ, dies at 56". The Washington Post.